Age: 5
Provincial Riding: Sudbury
Hello everyone! My name is Deana and this is my son, Declan. Declan was born a vibrant, loving, and energetic little boy. He was attention seeking, he loved to be around people, and smiled every time you called his name. But between the age of 18 and 24 months drastic changes begin to occur. Declan would no longer eat the various foods he had begun to eat. He would no longer look in the direction of someone calling him. He would no longer respond to his name or wish to be engaged in any capacity, and finally, Declan became unresponsive to the touch of his own mother and father. We were desperate to uncover why these changes were taking place. Declan was later diagnosed on the autism spectrum at the age of 2 1/2 years old. As our family searched for therapy resources, we found a therapy firm within our city, Behaviour Analysis North. We have been working with this firm prior to the OAP Direct Funding Option and continue to do so at present. The gains Declan has made have been phenomenal. He is aware of his environment and all people around him, and he loves life and engaging people on a daily basis. He now can speak 3 to 4 word sentences; this is exceptionally fantastic since at diagnosis he was nonverbal. He knows his colours, numbers, alphabets, patterns, and engages in gross and fine motor skill activities. All of these abilities and skills have been developed and honed through Intensive Behavioural Intervention therapy. With new changes to the funding allocation model, families of children on the autism spectrum will not be able to afford the services they so desperately require. Autism spectrum children all over the province have made gains and continue to succeed daily. What will become of the children now should therapy be canceled? The provincial government needs to understand that the type of training required to be an ABA therapist cannot be accumulated in any type of crash course for autism. Without proper supports in place, especially in schools, our children will no longer succeed. If anything, many of our children will regress. Please join autism spectrum families, not only in promoting autism awareness, but in the fight against current changes to the Ontario Autism Program. These changes are not just insufficient but extremely detrimental to the success of our children and their future independence. Our family fights for the children in service, for the children about to receive service, and for the children who are still wait listed. We fight for you. We stand with you. Together, we are the 100%. ??

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